1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Horse Brass Pub

Not Rated.
Horse Brass PubHorse Brass Pub
BA SCORE
95
world-class

126 Ratings
Ratings: 126
Reviews: 98
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 10.9%
Taps: 74
Bottles: 26
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

4534 SE Belmont St
Portland, Oregon, 97215-1636
United States
phone: (503) 232-2202

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @horsebrasspub

Notes:
Weekdays: 11:00am -2:30am
Weekends: 9:00am - 2:30am

(Place added by: sinistersteve)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 126 | Reviews: 98 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of slander
4.64/5  rDev +7.7%

Jon's driving, I'm pretending to navigate. I don't have a map, and I have no idea where we are. I'm pretty sure everyone's on to me. We're in Oregon, I've never been here before and everybody knows it, but as I'm the only one here with wheels and am always driving, I'm most often paying attention when no one else will, so me riding shotgun is a good fit. And besides, I get to choose the new discs and take in the sights as we head to, where are we going exactly? Horse Brass...

I've never seen anything like this before. It's a beerflyer's nightmare, there's shit everywhere. Towers, pairs, single taps; it's a clusterfuck of someone's organization.
The bar is a wraparound and seats a dozen and a half. Intricately carved wood posts and crossbeams, covered with beer signs and a stained glass "Publick House" panel above, and heavily pasted with coasters, dangling Grolsch top necklaces, Xmas lighting and horse brass medallions which Phil described as being "kind of like bling". Spots to the front and center and strung Guinness mini-pint lighting. There's a large arched mirrored bar back with taps everywhere, booze with serving counters suspended, and glassware above. Ceiling fans, lanterns, glass chandeliers, mounted lamps; the walls decorated with beer & whiskey mirrors, and an entire wall done with Guinness mirrors, the John Gilroy prints and posters, and a great "The gentle art of making Guinness" 12 print set. The "side" side of the bar is open, by that I mean that there isn't a framed wood section overhead. Mirrored back, with shelves of booze, a dozen tables running to the rear, a duel dart area, mirrors, mirrors, mirrors, beer prints, whiskey prints. Lots of dark wood and some leather, and a suspended Trekkie model of the USS Voyager (NCC-74656).

The adjacent tabled areas are madness. Raised elevated seating areas to both sides of the front entranceway with a railing separating them from the bar ahead. 8 long tables in the larger room to one side and 8 various sized and shaped tables on the other side with a forward darts area. To the rear there, more darts, Horse Brass soccer team photos, English flags, soccer pennants and ribbons. A heavy, heavy WWII theme throughout; war photos, English recruiting posters and a whole lotta Churchill goin' on. Tons of well worn wood here, you'd think the place was considerably older than it is.

I counted, I don't know, something like 52 taps and 5 casks. At least half the taps are local and regional micros mostly from Oregon (Deschutes, Roots, Alameda, Golden Valley, Bend, Caldera, Laurelwood, Rogue, Full Sail, Bridgeport, Hair of the Dog, Terminal Gravity), and a bunch from Washington and California (Walking Man, Anchor, Bear Republic, Lagunitas, Stone, North Coast, Anderson Valley, Sierra Nevada). The rest of the taps are imports, standards like Bass, Guinness, Newcastle, Boddingtons, Pilsner Urquell, Stella, Lindemans Framboise and some not so usual (Paulaner Salvator Doppel Bock, Young's Double Chocolate Stout, Bombardier Ale, Greene King Abbot Ale, DuPont Avec Les Bons Voeux). The 5 casks were also local and regional selections from Deschutes, Hales, Rogue, Mt. Hood.

They've got a small bottle list with everyone's favorite Belgians and some Germans and English, that I never needed to know about as the taps were more than enough to keep me busy 'til the Spring. Also, some wines, port, single malt scotch, etc.

I had a pint of the Walking Man Black Cherry Stout which was just sublime. Chewed the fat with the bartender for a bit. "Here, try this. Here, try this". I asked about the lack of beers from Yakima Brewing/Bert Grant's Ales, and he told me the sad tale about the decline of the brewery. Out back on the bulletin board, a cartoon depicting fermenters at Yakima Brewing being packed up and moved. One character says "Those fermenters sure make a lot of noise on the forklifts", and the other character says "That's Bert rolling over in his grave". True, true.

This place is outstanding.

slander, Sep 08, 2006
Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.61/5  rDev -16.2%

Around the corner from Belmont Station, we all walked down to Horse Brass to drink a couple of beers before dinner at Roe on Division. The Brass looks like a rural British pub, takes me back to those lovely trips through the English countryside with the wife, stopping at small places like this one for a cask ale and some rustic fare.

Only here the beer selection, while geared towards the UK and British styles, includes many great examples of American craft, including a good number of Oregon/Northwest beers.

They have 4 casks, no less, and also Hair of the Dog Blue Dot, Pliny the Elder and Blind Pig, Ft George Vortex, Migration Black IPA, Walking Man Black Cherry, Boneyard Hop, Breakside Salted Stout, Laurelwood Goose... a bit too IPA-focused for my tastes, and not enough big beers. But it ain't bad, that's for sure.

Prices are good, I paid $7.25 for a pint of Pliny that seemed to be 20 ounces. Other beers are between four and six dollars. Service wasn't so great, even though we were at the bar...

Didn't try food but it looked like typical pub food, fries and fish and chips and stuff. I think I would come back here for the atmosphere, so cozy and warm, but would go elsewhere for beer.

DoubleSimcoe, Feb 19, 2014
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Well, the Horse Brass blew me away!

It's an unassuming store front on a quiet, semi-dark street just down from a retirement home or something. There's not too much on the outside, but step inside and a beautiful gallery of dark wood and tables emerge, as well as the imported bar. And although I've never been to England and can't vouch for their authenticity, I have been to Ireland and the Horse Brass reminded me of some of the older, fine establishments there. I like the way that certain areas are kind of sectioned off and elevated, and that it wraps around the bar with the bathrooms tucked in the back.

And on that note of authenticity, I think it really has a pub atmosphere, fueled at least in part, by their barmen (Dennis rocks!). People seem to feel completely free to talk to each other and interact, which is a quite welcome change from so many places in the U.S. And do they have a T.V.? I don't remember seeing one - that helps too. ("They do have one, but they keep it tucked away most of the time. The Brass often shows European soccer games on Sunday mornings, and I did watch the last World Cup final on TV there, but that's about the only time you'll see a TV at the Horse Brass" - BA, johnmichaelsen).

The beer selection is stunning. There are local beers, semi-rare local beers, beers from outlying regions, East coast beers, and plenty of imports. You can't go wrong! ...

Some draft highlights from my visit:
Cascade Brewing Gose Summer Wheat (OR)
Ninkasi dry-hopped Tricerahops Double IPA (OR)
4th Street Wheat IPA (OR)
Full Sail LTD 3 (OR)
Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Sumpin'(CA)
Fish Organic IPA (WA)

So, overall, two thumbs up! Absolutely worth a try!

NeroFiddled, Jul 30, 2009
Photo of Dogbrick
4.18/5  rDev -3%

Went here on a recommendation from a fellow beer lover who goes to Portland frequently and were not disappointed. Horse Brass is located on the east side of the city on Belmont off route 30/84. Parking can be found on the surrounding streets.

The inside was absolutely packed on a weekday night. There is communal seating and tables from wall to wall, and a wraparound bar that occupies 2 of the rooms. There are darts in the back too. The place is dark with a lot of wood and British-inspired decor.

The beer selection at Horse Brass is very substantial and changes regularly. There are around 50 brews on tap from regional brewers like Caldera, Speakeasy, Elysian, HUB, Laurelwood, Deschutes and others. They also have a few import taps from Germany, Scotland, Belgium and others. Cask beer is also available. The bottle list is fairly extensive as well with many of the same brewers represented. There are beer menus on the tables that show a (mostly) up to date list.

Service was about as good as can be expected considering the place was overflowing with people. Our server was helpful in letting us know what changes had occurred on the beer menu and made good food recommendations.

As for the food, it is very good. We tried a Scotch Egg based on a recommendation and it was awesome. Our bangers and mash and fish and chips were very good as well.

Overall the Horse Brass is high on the list of places to hit in Portland.

Dogbrick, Mar 09, 2010
Photo of John_M
4.53/5  rDev +5.1%

7/08 Update. One of the few problems I have had at the Horsebrass involved the service (or should I say lack of service) I typically received from one certain gentleman. As near as I can tell, that individual has now semi-retired, or at least no longer works very often at the Brass. Hence, it's high time I upgraded my service score, as over the past year I have consistently received outstanding, attentive service. Might need to update my atmosphere score as well when Portland goes smokefree in 2009.

Happily, nothing else about this outstanding beer bar has changed one wit, and hence I make it a point to stop by the pub whenever I happen to be in town (frequently, though no where near often enough). Last time I visited, there was a wedding group in attendance, who apparently had made some arrangement with the bar to pour a keg of beer called "wedding cake," solely for the wedding guests (free at the bar for them). I thought that a great idea, something I don't believe I have ever seen elsewhere. As I left the bar a bit later, a couple of young ladies from the group were having a lightsaber duel in the middle of the street.. It was all I could do to keep the grin off my face and not stare.

This place truly is the crown jewel in the nearly endless array of outstanding Portland beer bars. (end of update)

After reading over the reviews about this place, I find myself in agreement with both the pros and cons. I've been coming here for many years myself, even more often now that I live only a few miles away. The criticisms are all warranted I'm afraid. The food here is no better then average for the most part (though the fish and chips always look pretty good), and service uneven to say the least. I've walked out on a couple of occasions after sitting at the bar for what seemed an interminable period of time waiting for service.

All that being said, I'm not sure I agree with Mashmstr2's assertion that the HB's time has come and gone. Most nights I've visited the place it's been absolutely packed. The beer selection remains one of the best in town; where else can you find the awesome Blue Dot Double IPA from Hair of the Dog on tap as a regular? So I come here at least once a week for one reason and one reason only. The HB continues to offer local beers that I seldom, if ever, see any place else. As long as they continue to do that, and Don Younger (may he live forever) seems to be committed to doing just that, I'll continue to stop by whenever I have the chance.

John_M, Jan 20, 2006
Photo of GJ40
4.86/5  rDev +12.8%

I stop in every time I visit Portland on business. I absolutely love this place. The atmosphere is outstanding. Having done many trips to England and visited as many pubs as possible, I find the Horse Brass very authentic and enjoyable. There's a lot of character to the place along with a few dart boards to fill in the time between beer and conversation.

They always have a great selection of beer. It includes both regular offerings and guest taps. I've discovered several favorites here including Walking Man's Homo Erectus Imperial IPA, Mt Hood Hogsback Stout and HUB IPA. I love the fact that they always have some casks on tap.

This is a great neighborhood pub. Nice work Mr Younger!

GJ40, Apr 14, 2008
Photo of sholland119
4.6/5  rDev +6.7%

We visited this legendary Portland pub for Saturday lunch. We knew of its reputation as smoker-friendly and wanted to try to miss that. We succeeded as only Don, the owner, was smoking at the far end of the very large U-shaped bar.

The atmosphere is (what I imagine to be) of an authentic English pub, right down to the pleasant, if mildly OCD elderly English bartender. Dimly lit, dark wood all around, stools that were made for smaller people than my XL self. Lots of horse brass (brasses?) nailed to the walls along with tons of presumably authentic nicknacks.

The tap list was simply outstanding. Along with a bunch of traditional UK beers (Bass, Guinness, Boddingtons), there was a huge selection of Pac NW locals, along with Bear Republic (Crazy Ivan) and Russian River (Pliny the Elder) taps. Also my hometown Victory Hop Devil. About 7 or 8 of the taps were casks, the most I have ever seen in one location.

Food was very good. My turkey pot pie was delicious and I also tried my first scotch egg. Both were very well prepared.

We could have stayed all day but had other places to visit. Looking forward to next time.

HV

sholland119, Oct 23, 2008
Photo of yemenmocha
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%

Great selection of ales, both local and regional. It was also refreshing to have a server know something about the beers, and to recommend an IPA from actual drinking experience. Full Imperial pints were served as well, which is the way it should be.

Atmosphere was a bit run down compared to what I was expecting but it had plenty of personality nonetheless. Restrooms could use some improvement.

Food was alright as far as the boxty goes, and dessert too. Prices were within normal range for Portland area. Easy to find location.

yemenmocha, Jul 26, 2010
Photo of francisweizen
4.36/5  rDev +1.2%

This was another nice pub in Portland, OR. It is certainly *the* place in the city to get that rare one-off draught or bottles brew you have been searching for. The atmosphere is great, real Liverpool local boozer feel to it, with dark wood, and several rooms. Lots of breweriana as well. Quality of my beer of choice (Homo Erectus IIPA) was fresh and great, and the service was nice as well, in this truly smoky and British style ale house. Selection as mentioned is usually great, but was not the best on my visist, since we just missed out on a keg of HOTD's new Blue Dog! D'oh! Still this is a classic SE Portland pub, in a nice neighberhood. The atmosphere makes this place worth it alone. Thanks for the ride David :-)

francisweizen, May 12, 2005
Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Cool building. I now see why everyone said that Belmont lost something when it moved away from here. Anyways, to Horse Brass…After I walk through the door I’m greeted by an ornery old cuss of a limey and a cluster farfignugen of taps. There are taps behind the bar, above the bar, below the bar, around the bar…taps coming out of the walls, taps growing off of fungus growing on the carefully carved timbers…you get the point. There are a lot of taps, at least 50, and casks…they’ve got more then any bar I’ve been to in the states.

After staring at the taps, and drooling, and staring some more, and then getting verbally prodded by the limey, I order a Fred. Did I mention that they have loads of Hair of the Dog on tap? Oh yeah!

Selection otherwise includes a number of Oregon/Washington/Cali beers: Deschutes, Almeda, Laurelwood, Mt. Hood, Walking Man, Lagunitas, Rogue (including their own label), Anderson Valley, North Coast, etc… All the usual British imports are available: Boddingtons, Bass, etc…plus some less common brews like Young’s Chocolate Stout. A handful of great imports: Salvator, Dupont, and some less then great imports: Stella, Pilsner Urequel, etc…can be found as well. The casks are just as good and diverse: I had a Hogs Back on cask from Mt. Hood for my second brew. At least four other British/West Cost ales were available as well.

After ordering, my girlfriend and I set to playing darts on a couple of rather traditional British boards. That area of the bar reminded me a bit of the Albatross in Berkeley, since the Albatross is also a great British Pub style beer bar with authentic dart boards. I really got to enjoying the dimly lit but spacious, and utterly authentic atmosphere. Some witty banter with the barkeep about women, beer, and politics only added to my enjoyment.

The Horse Brass is an exceptional tavern. I was thrilled by the tap selection, got ripped on by an old British bloke (and proceeded to laugh my arse off about it), and greatly enjoyed the atmosphere. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Note: Some reviewers complained about the smokiness of the place. It didn’t seem smoky at all to me, at least during the day. Then again, I think that whole discussion will soon be a wash as Portland or Oregon State (I’m not sure which) is soon to ban all public smoking.

DaPeculierDane, Jul 03, 2007
Photo of seanchai
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

seanchai, Dec 31, 2013
Photo of BillRoth
4.75/5  rDev +10.2%

BillRoth, Feb 12, 2014
Photo of spointon
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%

I visited the Horse Brass Pub for lunch while in Portland on business.

This place is located in a mixed residential/commercial neighborhood. The building itself is pretty nondescript form the outside...judging from the architecture and small amount of signage you would never know there was a pub inside unless you already knew about it.

Entering was like stepping into another world. Very dim lighting, lots of well worn woodwork, and loads of English pennants and other "bits and bobs" hanging around. A real dartboard in the corner, English style bar with 25 taps or so, and no TVs in sight. Great atmosphere!

The beer list was not overly huge, and there was some pedestrian stuff on there, but there was also some real gems in there too. I had one of the better pints of porter I have ever tasted and my wife had a pint of bitter. The food was authentic English pub food (scotch eggs, fish and chips, ploughman's lunch, boxty's, etc).

Service was fine, but then again the place was mostly empty on my visit. Prices were extremely fair. All in all a great place that probably deserves the legendary status it has in the beer world.

spointon, Apr 02, 2010
Photo of Floydster
4.28/5  rDev -0.7%

We went here right before ending the trip down the street at Belmont Station, for some reason this place reminded me a lot of Hamilton's in San Diego but older and more of an Irish pub vibe, dark inside and typical older men hanging out around the bar, almost exactly how I pictured it, looked like there were around 50 taps, some of the ones I remember seeing other than the ones we had were Mendocino White Hawk IPA, Trade Route Infidel Lime IPA, Lompoc C-Note, Hair of the Dog Fred, Rogue Hazelnut Brown, Deschutes Black Butte, and Walking Man Cherry Stout, they had nearly one hundred bottles according to our waitress but we did not even bother looking at those as we had already ordered four different beers on tap, we had the New Belgium and Elysian collaboration beer called the Trip II Citra, Mt. Hood Oatmeal Stout, Amnesia ESB, and Bear Republic Oso Rojo, the collab beer stuck out the most, we had some french fries and they were pretty good but a little plain, they were old Irish plank style like my grandma used to make, not necessarily a bad thing and tasted just fine with ketchup, they had some cool memorabilia-type clothing available along with some old mugs and other stuff, too bad there was only one television in the whole place, apparently it rarely goes on unless there is a soccer game on too, this place was the most hyped from what I had heard when asking locals and others who had visited Portland where a must visit is and this definitely lived up to my expectations, service was good and actually quite nice for the type of place it is too, looking forward to my future return visit, certainly recommended

Floydster, Jun 05, 2009
Photo of jjboesen
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

A ten-minute bus ride (No. 15) brings you directly to the front of Portland's most famous and weel regarded beer bar, certainly one of my own faves - I never leave Beervana without stopping here. When you walk in you find an English country pub, heavy wooded beams, uneven wooden floors, wobbly yet sturdy tables amid several dark rambling rooms. Charles Dickens would feel at home here.

Any visit to the Horse Brass and something will surely turn up (to quote Mr. Micawber, who would also feel at home.)Every inch is covered with beer paraphanalia. The beer is selected with care and kept fresh, with rotating taps covering a myriad of styles and tastes. The menu features the traditional English breakfast and includes a very filling Bangers and Mash complete with requisite peas. And Scotch Eggs. Yumm.

Of course, cask-conditioned drafts are ready for tasting. (They offer about 40 taps total). So many beers and so little time; I had Hogs Back Stout on cask and Old Speckled Hen - another fave. This is one of the true beer meccas - and a must visit at least once. Be warned: smoking gets heavy at night.

jjboesen, Jul 29, 2008
Photo of FightingEntropy
4.01/5  rDev -7%

This was my last stop of a long day of testing, so I might go back and give it a full shot. When I do it will be in the afternoon so as to avoid the thick smoke, though it was only 8 pm. I know I'm often in the minority here with my beer drinking bretheren, but but I don't get the point of paying $5 a pint or $7 for a 10oz glass of great beer when I can't even smell it over the smoke. Decided not to rate either beer from the bar because I'm not sure what was there.

With that said, the selection is awesome, and pretty much everyone I asked along my week long trip said to hit the Horse Brass for the best beer. Between the guest beers, regs, and the rotating casks, it is beer heaven. What I drank, was well served and well cared for. Food looked good, even some vegetarian options which was unexpected from the look and attitude of the place.

HB web says they are a smoke friendly pub and that adults should have a choice, which a choice would be nice. I think it's a much more sensical choice if smoker's can choose to smoke outside so that the rest of us actually can actually choose to not drink or dine in smoke. But, with so many good bars in Portland, maybe nonsmokers and those allergic to it like myself shouldn't waste the time or money here.

FightingEntropy, Nov 12, 2006
Photo of msubulldog25
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

I was just looking for my review, and realized...damn...I've never written one. Within 12 hours (or so) of the Immortal Don Younger's passing, I'll post now.

Between the years 1999 (when we moved to Portland) and 2008, I could count the visits to the venerable Horse Brass on one hand (well, maybe two), despite being a burgeoning fan of craft beer. Something about the smoke, er, I mean the ~~~SMOKE~~~. As a lover of clean air I guess we chose to avoid the place for it's acrid layer of fogginess... and that was OK.

After a Jan 1, 2009 ban on all things smoky + indoors, things changed; we actually LOVED The Horse Brass (despite the protests of publican Younger and his veiled threats to close the place should the banning law pass). We visited the Horse Brass at least once a month since.

So here you have, in my opinion, what could be the most 'authentic-feeling' pub this side of England. Behind an unassuming facade of red brick lies a true gem: blackened wood floors, nooks and crannies galore, booths and benches, yellowed club banners and dart boards. It's a thirty (plus)-year-old pub that feels every bit of a hundred-year-old pub. Behind a mug-strewn, fairly untidy bulk of a bar, 50 or so taps and a healthy selection of cask handles are all manned by an able and often affable barman. Often Mr. Younger was found occupying a stool 'round the right end of the bar. A dark (and frankly kinda dingy) feel, but 'real'...

Horse Brass has its fair assortment of 'house' beers, among them those of Hair of the Dog; it's one of the few places you can always procure a pint of Blue Dot IPA. Besides that, the regular assortment of fine British cask ales can't be beat. Never look at the on-line (of late) taplist, because it's liable to have changed a few times over.

For all the times, I've visited (whether for the occasional Pub Night, the tour for the out of town guest, the late-afternoon 'lunch' or whatever) I've never been anything less than 'comfortable'. Entering Horse Brass feels like 'home' for a beer-drinker, and lovely, oft greasy, comfort foods like the infamous Scotch Egg or, frankly gorgeous, Fish & Chips only extend that vibe.

An institution, and a 'must-visit', when in Portland. It'll just be a little lonelier now that Don's physical presence isn't lingering at the bar... though I trust his spirit will hang around a long, long while...

msubulldog25, Jan 31, 2011
Photo of blitheringidiot
4.75/5  rDev +10.2%

For beer geeks there are only four kinds of bars: Just bars, beer bars, great beer bars and finally, LEGENDARY World Class beer bars. Horse Brass Pub is one of the few elite upper echelon legendary world class beer bars. Owned by the beer mythological man Don Younger who is only THEE man after whom Rogue's Younger bitter is named. What creates such an amazing exceptional ambiance is not just the inside of this beer heaven, but even the street that that the Horse Brass is situated is surrounded by other beer bars and brew pubs within a quick drive or a leisurely walk.

You can't help but be pulled in through the doors by the gravity of good beer. Inside the place oozes with old dark worn wood, and not just the kind that appears worn and withered but really is with a historic granduer. Walls, ceilings and trim are adorned over every square inch with classic coasters, flags, breweriana odds 'n ends nearly to being a ber museaum in and unto itself. No doubt, decades of beerdom have cast a patina about the place to give it an air of antique mystique.

The bar wraps around on the inside and tables are to the left an right. Countless tap stations hold 10 - 12 handles each. A beer menu struggles to kep updated, but with so much turnover, it is imposible to be recent. Kegs kicked the bucket, even as I was there for a few quick beers. There are three cask conditioned handles AND a DFH Randall with local cascade hops. Unreal! The narrow halls that wrap around the entire interior in a square are just littered with beer boxes, empty bottles and kegs like a frat house gone mad but with good beer.

All the staff were friendly, accomodating and attentive. If you go that far, you have don your ber clientele a great service.

What really cackled my frackus was that they have such a tight line of local beers, that the ber menu refers to beers from Seattle and California as "guest tap beer." That is classy. If this place were near me in Yuengling-ville, I'd be a regular until my bank acount was empty and my tummy was full.

Hopefully, I'm doing justice with the food aspect...just had steak fries and they were good.

Last call: Horse Brass Pub ranks with the best of beer bars that I've ever seen. My first place to hit, next time in town. Overall, this place has hardly any room to improve. It is damn near perfect. The only bar that comes close is Mugs in Brooklyn, NYC.

Thanks to Freed for the meeting of the BAs, thanks to ReidRover for wearing his BA T-shirt so I could recognize them, thanks to RedDiamond for hanging with me, reccomending my beer choices and ordering the steak fries.

blitheringidiot, Jul 22, 2005
Photo of RedDiamond
4.85/5  rDev +12.5%

After 14 months of being a BA, I'm finally getting around to submitting a writeup for my local neighborhood beer bar. I've been coming to the Horse Brass for years. I brought in New Years 2004 here. I've driven the serving staff home in my taxi after closing. I've gotten pretty hammered here on beer and single malt Scotch, but I've always managed to walk the half mile or so back home. It's a great bar and an institution in a town that knows the value of good beer.

The Horse Brass is a neighborhood beer bar whose resistance to change has earned it something of an enduring legacy. The wooden floors are so worn out, you can see the years of spilt beer, muddy boots, and broken glass that have given them such character. Everything else is equally tempered by years of glass upon wood, smoke, an errant dart or two. I've seen plenty of bars aspire to be what the Horse Brass already is. You could build a new bar tomorrow with an equal number of taps, put some reissued "classic" Guinness ads on the wall, and make overtures to jolly old England all you want, and it wouldn't be the same. The Horse Brass already embodies the genuine character such wannabes can't hope to emulate with mere ornamentation.

There oughta be a law that prohibits a truly great beer bar from having television or video games. These flashy noise makers only detract from a great bar. The Horse Brass has darts, beer, authentic English pub fare, and conversation. Their one large screen TV is kept unplugged, shoved against the wall except when Sunday soccer matches are shown.

This was the first place I ever heard a bartender use the phrase "malt profile." The staff seems to arrive because they genuinely belong here, not because they look good in a T-shirt. Last time I visited, I ordered a beer and the waitress advised me that I might want to reconsider my choice because the tap wasn't especially fresh. How many servers know the product and look out for the customer like that? Not many.

The selection of beers is perfect. 25 American beers, every one fresh from the west coast. 15 thoughtful choices from Europe, one cider, and four cask-conditioned ales. The numbers are just right to provide good rotation and choice. You could drink twice a week here and not grow bored all year long.

As if that wasn't enough, next door is Belmont Station where you can choose from hundreds of bottles of beer from around the world to go. A great place to have a great beer if ever there was.

RedDiamond, Apr 17, 2005
Photo of jera1350
4.55/5  rDev +5.6%

This was our second beer related stop in Portland. The place is large, dark, rustic and historical feeling which I feel is awesome. Pretty empty on this early afternoon, so we sat at the bar and had awesome service from the bartender. He had great beer advice and explanations, food recommendations and even sight seeing options in the neighborhood and state. Very, very nice and personable guy.

Beer selection is huge with a wide variety of beers including lots of local/regional options. Two cask brews on which we took advantage of, a couple of nitro beers as well. Beers were all very good quality.

Food here was awesome. British food that tasted very authentic with many things being homemade. We had the vegetable pastie and steak and kidney pie which were both awesome and tasted authentic. They accidentally made an extra order of fish and chips which they gave to us on the house. I have to say that the fish and chips was one of the best things I have eaten on our trip and I'm not even a big fish and chips fan. This was amazing though.

Can't recommend this place enough. We may have to make another stop here before we leave town.

jera1350, Jun 14, 2013
Photo of jdense
4.75/5  rDev +10.2%

Stopped by 7/5/08 taking a break from Waterfront Blues Festival. Great greasy food (if you don't like deep frying I suggest the Chef's Salad), friendly and attentive service from world class barkeeps, full pours of Imperial Pints and Hair of the Dog Fred (!) on tap The smoky interior just lends to the overall ambience of the Rose City's most important beer bar. No tour of Portland bars is complete without a stop on Belmont. Parking can sometimes be a hassle, but hey, after two pints of Fred I shouldn't be driving anyway :) I cheer you Don Younger!

jdense, Jul 20, 2008
Photo of benito
4.68/5  rDev +8.6%

Maybe my favorite beer bar ever.

A true-to-style, dark, grim English pub with lots of sitting space, a huge bar, and a ridiculous tap selection. The beers featured come from all over, though there seems to be an eye to beers from Oregon and NoCal. The menu also features a good, rotating variety of cask ales. I had two Walking Man beers--the Black Cherry Stout and Homo Erectus--both of which were excellent and properly served.

The service was prompt and very friendly (she was even happy to give us directions to other beer bars around Portland), the food was tasty and cheap (brie, roasted garlic, and baguette for under $4), and the ambience was made for drinking. The only downside is the smokiness, but by the time I left, my head was spinning from all the great things about Horse Brass, not the second-hand smoke.

A must visit beer bar for anyone anywhere in the US. Make the pilgrimage.

benito, Apr 11, 2008
Photo of indiapaleale
4.38/5  rDev +1.6%

First off, this place is an institution and should not be left off any beer lovers list of places to go in the PNW.

I was disappointed not to see Don Younger at the bar when we walked in but thats okay, maybe I'll see him next time.

Beer selection was most impressive. They had just had an Abyss vertical tasting the night before so we were lucky enough to get some $3 glasses of the '07. That alone made this place amazing.

Food is very well done traditional British pub fare. Try the Scotch Egg if you want to take 10 years off your life.

Only complaint was the service. Our waitress was pretty much worthless. She also had the nerve to not once but twice come back to the table and say she had forgotten our orders because she was talking to her friends. She knew nothing about beer and had little to no interest in serving us. Pretty pathetic on her part.

The atmosphere of this place is straight up perfect for drinking beer. It was way bigger than I expected. Beer list is amazing and costs are very reasonable. Glad I got a chance to stop in to this beer lovers landmark.

indiapaleale, Feb 20, 2009
Photo of Metalmonk
4.03/5  rDev -6.5%

Gave this place an intentional skip a couple years ago, as it was still a smoker's haven. Now that the law has changed, it was a must-visit this time around. Pleased that the decades of smoke didn't embed itself into the place--there's almost no trace of it, except for some yellowed wall-hangings. The atmosphere is really great, all very dark wood, from walls to tables to chairs, benches and bar. All kinds of crazy shit on the walls, from soccer-team pennants to coasters to various Brass Horse lore/history.

The public area pretty much wraps around the bar in a huge square shape, and the night we went there were tons of dart fanatics doing their thing. The place was full but not over-packed.

Food was okay. Fries were excellent, but my vegetable pastie was pretty bland. Typically English, I guess. The beer selection was good, although the menu is deceiving. About a third of the beers shown are actually "coming soon," and quite a few of the other ones were crossed off and no longer available. No big deal, as there was still plenty of cool stuff available, mostly US crafts with a concentration on west coast stuff. They rotate the list frequently too, so it's easy to understand the minor issues.

Service was inconsistent. Our waiter seemed like a cool dude, but was often nowhere to be found when we needed something or needed more beer. We actually had to chase him down a couple times, but it wasn't a service disaster or anything.

Very much has the vibe of a neighborhood pub in jolly ole England, but their beer offerings go a step beyond the norm in any land. Very glad to have visited, and would definitely return next time around.

Metalmonk, May 15, 2009
Photo of tylerstravis
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

tylerstravis, Jun 05, 2014
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Horse Brass Pub in Portland, OR
95 out of 100 based on 126 ratings.